Advice on job-hunting game theory needed!
February 9, 2021 4:47 PM   Subscribe

It's possible that I'll have the nice problem soon of potentially choosing between different job offers, with some complications on preference and timing. I'd love to get some opinions on how to navigate.

THE SITUATION: I am currently unemployed and, although my finances are stable for the moment, I do need to get a job, and preferably pretty soon.

Am deep in the interview stage with Places A, B, and C, and things are looking very promising on all 3 fronts. Of the three, A would be a dream job, B would be a job I'd be happy to have and C doesn't seem like a terrible job, but is something that I would only apply for in situations where I'm unemployed and need *something.*

The three orgs' timelines seem to run in the reverse order of my preference; so C is rocketing through, B is moving along, and A is moving quite slowly. This means that there's at least some likelihood that C will offer me a job before I've heard one way or another from A and B.

How do you perceive the ethics of this? If I accept a job from C, would it be a dick move to then, say 10 days later, say (in my most diplomatic manner) "Oh! I got an offer from A! Sorry!"

Additional complication: part of the reason I have a good shot at C is that a not-super-close-but-still-a-friend friend of mine works there and put in a word for me; if I were to accept and then turn around and leave, would that add theoretical dick-move debits?

Thanks for any and all thoughts!
posted by COBRA! to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Ok you have two choices here if you get job C before hearing about A and B.

Tactic one is if you get an offer on job C, get the offer in writing, and ask for a week to think about it. During that week, go back to job A and B, tell them you have an offer on the table but you are more interested in working for them and see what they say.

Tactic two is to accept job C, and figure, hey, if I died, they would have me replaced in 2 weeks, and if you get an offer from A or B just take it and that's life.

Just sort of depends on which you are more comfortable with.
posted by foxonisland at 5:13 PM on February 9, 2021 [5 favorites]


Do what you need to do. Leaving C abnormally early would likely hurt your friend's reputation, so I'd avoid that as strongly as you value your friendship.
Be upfront with A, B and C that you're interviewing at multiple places and that you'll need time to consider your options. Companies that pressure you into making a fast choice are perhaps companies you wouldn't want to work for anyways.
I had an employee reluctantly quit on his first day because his dream job offer came in. It sucked for me, but I wouldn't have expected them to stick around and be miserable thinking about what they're missing out on. We cut ties amicably. I wouldn't hire them again, though.
posted by Diddly at 5:15 PM on February 9, 2021 [5 favorites]


I wouldn’t hire them again, though.

This.

People in a position to make decisions on hires have a lists of people they wouldn’t hire, and they talk to each other. Word gets around.

Especially if your field is small, insular, and connected, it will come back to haunt you.
posted by doomsey at 7:11 PM on February 9, 2021


> Be upfront with A, B and C that you're interviewing at multiple places and that you'll need time to consider your options. Companies that pressure you into making a fast choice are perhaps companies you wouldn't want to work for anyways.

I agree. Ideally you can poke the slower hiring processes to speed them up while trying to slow down the pace of the fastest process, or at least tell them that you need time to reach a decision. Without entering into any agreement then breaking it.

You could be in a strong position if two or more of the places A, B and C are looking for a hire that's a great mutual fit for the role, and not merely someone good enough who is free right now or who is desperate for any job that they're likely to accept a less attractive offer from an employer even if it is artificially time limited.

If the folks making hiring decisions at places A and B believe that you are a strong fit for the role, or that you might turn out to be a strong fit for the role once they learn a bit more about you, if you tell them that you're interviewing with competing options but make it very clear that you are interested in the role they have advertised, they should react by trying to speed up the hiring process on their side to increase their changes of landing you. That said, if these potential employers are particularly large and bureaucratic then even if someone really wants to bring you on board they may not have much power to speed up their process.

Similarly if you get a competing job offer from C, telling A and/or B that you've gotten a competing job offer can be another way to encourage them to speed up their process -- and it is likely that it also increases how much they value you (if another party is willing to hire you, for a comparable role, that's more independent evidence that you're likely worth hiring).

If you obviously slow down the process for C and end up accepting it after making them wait to see if you'd get an offer from A or B, they may end up concerned that you won't stay, as they're only your 3rd best potion.
posted by are-coral-made at 2:31 AM on February 10, 2021 [1 favorite]


A long time ago, I was interviewing for two jobs, job A and job B. I was genuinely unsure, which one I would take if offered both. Job A offered and I accepted. Two weeks later, job B offered. After some thought, I accepted job B and pulled out of job A. I had a conversation with someone senior at job A after that where I explained why I'd decided to back out - we had worked together on a consortium project. The conversation was awkward but ok. There were no long-term repercussions but job B was effectively a career change.

I've had people back out of jobs that I was hiring for. It wouldn't stop me from hiring them in the future.
posted by plonkee at 5:22 AM on February 10, 2021 [1 favorite]


People in a position to make decisions on hires have a lists of people they wouldn’t hire, and they talk to each other. Word gets around.

Yes. Word definitely gets around, and you will have extremely motivated people making sure it does in fact get around if you quit 2 weeks into starting a new job because the offer you were obviously waiting on has come in.

Just say you are currently in the interview process with 3 different companies and that you will be waiting for all three offers before making a decision. Also make sure to inform the holdouts that you have already received and offer, and that they need to speed up their process if they still want to be considered.
posted by sideshow at 2:38 PM on February 10, 2021


« Older Second opinion, please (Car filter)   |   A lightweight vacuum that sucks Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.